Careful! Your Toothbrush Could Make You Sick!


Oral Health Royal Dental TXDuring cold and flu season, there are several precautions that people take to stay as healthy as possible. We wash our hands more, and keep hand sanitizer nearby. These are good habits that come highly recommended due to the fact that it is natural for us to touch our face multiple times in a day. Whatever bacteria and other yuck that we may have picked up can be transferred and then, next thing we know, we’re down with the flu.

Here’s the kicker . . . the bacteria that creates that flu is on your toothbrush. It isn’t that your toothbrush caused your sickness. It’s that this daily-use instrument picks up microorganisms from your mouth. When you are sick, you’re spreading germs you really don’t want to pick back up again.

  • Numerous studies have indicated that most toothbrushes are capable of harboring bacteria and viruses.
  • It isn’t just the surface of the toothbrush that you hold that can be contaminated, it’s the bristles themselves.
  • The number of microorganisms picked up by a toothbrush correlates directly with the number of bristles on the brush.
  • Fewer microorganisms are found on toothbrushes with clear, translucent heads. This is because many viruses and bacteria are sensitive to light.

Tips for Avoiding Reinfection from Your Toothbrush

The last thing you want is to kick a cold and get sick again because of your toothbrush. Some ways to keep your brush from picking up harmful microorganisms include:

  • Purchase a transparent toothbrush with a small head (fewer bristles)
  • Consider storing your toothbrush in your bedroom or closet rather than your bathroom, where microorganisms contaminate just about every surface.
  • Clean it or replace it. When we clean our toothbrushes (soak in diluted castile soap), we may only need to replace them a few times a year. When we don’t clean them, and most of us don’t, we may benefit from monthly replacement. Replacement may also be necessary after an illness, even the mild cold.

Your toothbrush is meant to be a beneficial tool for maintaining oral health, not a biohazard. With proper care and replacement, this is possible.

Supplement your daily oral care with semi-annual checkups and cleanings at Royal Dental. Contact an office near you for friendly service.

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